Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring is Here!!!

Quote for the Day:
"Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush." ~
Doug Larson


Last summer when we were in Tennessee when our grandson was born, I bought a tub full of quilting fabric from someone on their local Craigslist....a whole large tote of fabric for $40!!!  I emptied the tote and put everything away...well...everything except a stack of 5" X 6" squares that were tied together.  This particular stack was a mix of fabrics...seersucker, cotton, home dec and other fabrics...and I wasn't quite sure where to put them.  I could have just thrown them away, but that were such pretty colors and looked like they coordinated with each other so well...they just made me smile...so I just put them aside for the time being.  (The rest of the tote contained cotton quilting fabric with only a small handful of non-quilting fabrics, so it was VERY worth the money!)  

About a month ago when I was cleaning off the shelving units in my sewing room and moving some things around, I came upon them again, but still didn't quite know what to do with them.  I put them on my cutting table and decided that if I didn't figure out something soon, then I would pass them along to a friend that I donate fabric to now and then.

About a week or so after that I was feeling "blah" from all the snow and cold weather and wanted to work with some pretty colors to perk up my mood.  Enter that strange little pile of pretty fabrics...

They were an odd shape and not very many of them, so I decided to use them all and make a table runner to brighten my mood!  The only fabric I added to them was the blue gingham check that I used in the border and the backing fabric...both from my stash!  (The blue gingham used in the blocks was one that came in the stack of fabrics!)

Nothing says "Spring" like florals and gingham!!!  :)



Now can you see why I just couldn't get rid of these pieces of fabric?  Don't they just call your name and say "Look at me...don't I make you smile"???  

Loretta

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Vintage Stars quilt is DONE!!!

Quote for the Day:
"The hardest thing to find in life is happiness -- 
money is only hard to find because it gets wasted trying to find happiness."
~author unknown


I finished piecing the Vintage Stars quilt top made from vintage embroidered linens about 2 weeks ago.  Because I had to add interfacing to the vintage linens to give them added strength, I didn't want to try to hand quilt this one.  I also didn't feel that my machine quilting would do justice to the design, therefore, I decided to quilt this one "by checkbook"....the first quilt that I have ever sent out to be quilted by someone else!

I reached out to a local long-arm quilter here in Grafton, Joann Sturm, that I used to attend church with.  She listened to what I wanted and had it completed and back to me one week later!  She did a great job of custom quilting on it!  When I got it home, I added a scrappy binding and labeled it.  I still need to wash it, but wanted to go ahead and photograph it and share it with you!



Here are some close-ups so you can see the excellent quilting in the blocks and sashings...



...and in the pinwheel cornerstones...



The border...


The pieced back...


...and the label...


This one is for ANDY & ME!!!!!!!!  I give most of my quilts away...but this one was made for us!!!

Now...I'm going to go put it in the wash...  :)

Loretta

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A New Quilt Block!!!



I'm sure that you all have heard about the Human Genome Project...the project that's been going on since the late 1990's that is mapping all of the genes and chromosomes of the human body.
The Human Genome Project (HGP) is an international scientific research project with the goal of determining the sequence of chemical base pairs which make up human DNA, and of identifying and mapping all of the genes of the human genome from both a physical and functional standpoint.
What you may not realize is that they have found that there is a "decorating gene"...some people have it and some people don't.  When they saw the gene, they knew it was the "decorating gene" because it had a little tiny wreath hanging on it!  

BAZZINGA!!!

I can tell you right now that I am deficient in that gene!  That is why I troll Pinterest like my life depended on it!  Yesterday I came upon this article by an interior designer about decorating above cabinets, and it made me more comfortable about this open space above my kitchen cabinets.  I'd been contemplating if I should put something up there or not.  


The article was interesting because it talked about WHEN to put something above a cabinet or shelf.

Back track to last week when I was gifted a hand-made wooden quilt made by a very talented wood-worker...my friend and chiropractor, Dr. Leonette!  I "thought" I knew where I wanted to hang it in the entry way, but for some reason I couldn't pull the trigger to hang it in that spot.  

We have plaster walls, and you'd better be VERY SURE that you want something someplace before you go drilling into the plaster because it is NOT easily fixed like drywall is.  

Then today it hit me what the author said about extending the height of a short piece of furniture by decorating on top with large, non-cluttered items...and I knew just the place for the wooden quilt...


We have two hutches in the dining room...this being the shorter of the two...and that blank space above it always bothered me....it was 3-3.5' of blank space!!  The high ceilings in this house make this mid-century modern hutch look even shorter than it is!  

Instead of hanging this beautiful wooden quilt on the wall, I set it atop the hutch and leaned it against the wall...thus making the two look continuous and increasing the perceived height of the hutch!  Look at the size of that space above it that was just blank before!

I have a variety of woods in this room, so the fact that it is a different wood than the hutch just goes with eclectic feel of the room.  All of the artwork on the walls in this room are one-of-a-kind, hand-made pieces...and all are made by people we know!  I love that!!!  It makes each piece just that much more special to us.

I think it looks good from all angles! 




Yep...that'll do!!  Thanks, Doc, for the beautiful gift!  It will be loved and appreciated very much!

Loretta 

Monday, March 2, 2015

BACON!!!!



People who know me...really, really KNOW me...know that there are two things that are essential for life:  bacon and coffee!!

Coffee has not been a problem for me while doing Whole30...I just had to learn to drink it without any sweetener...using unsweetened coconut milk as "cream".  It took me about 3 days to adjust to drinking it that way.

Bacon has been a different story because I don't eat nitrates/nitrates.  Also, it is hard to find meat and pork that hasn't been given hormones or antibiotics...two other things I don't eat anymore.  

BUT, last week when I was grocery shopping I found some Appleton Farms "Never Any" uncured bacon with NO hormones, NO antibiotics, and NO nitrates/nitrites!!  It does contain a small amount of sugar...but it is the next to the last ingredient on the list.  (This is actually the FIRST food item I've eaten since Jan. 15 that has had ANY sugar in it!)


And guess where I found this bundle of happiness???

At Aldi's, of all places...so it was actually affordable!!!

I cooked the entire package off in the oven this evening so that I can enjoy some in the morning with breakfast!  (Andy & I both tried one piece tonight to see how it tasted.  Andy thought it wasn't as tasty as "regular" bacon, but I thought I had died and GONE TO HEAVEN!!!  Of course, Andy would complain if he were "hung with a new rope", as my dad used to say...but I've learned to not pay attention to his nay-saying!)

Since I'm still not interested in adding sugar as a staple back into to my diet, I will eat the bacon conservatively and just enjoy it occasionally, although, I don't think that the scant amount of sugar that is in this bacon is going to cause issues.  

Forecast for tomorrow's breakfast looks VERY good!!!

Loretta

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lousy Weather = Lots of Sewing...




The weather here has been COLD and SNOWY for the past several days.  What's a quilter to do when the weather takes a turn for the worse???  

Whadya think???  

I've been spending a lot of time in my sewing room the last several days...and not always by myself!  ;)  

Last Friday, a friend brought over her machine and we spent the whole day in the sewing room.  She was working on an international "Round Robin".  That's a group of quilters who make a center block or medallion for their quilt.  They send it to the next person in the group who adds the next "round"...whatever the second quilter thinks will go with the first quilter's center, using what she has in her own stash.  That person then sends it along to the 3rd person who adds a round based on what they think goes, and the quilt continues around to each of the quilters in the round-robin, till it finally returns to the original owner as a completed top!

In this case, Susan was the second quilter on this piece...the middle "New York Beauty" medallion was made by the original quilter.  Susan added a 6" "piano key" border to it.




The day before, I had gone to buy border and backing fabric for my vintage embroidered linen star quilt.  Unfortunately, there was only 2 2/3 yards of the wide 1930's backing fabric, so I spent Friday piecing the backing to make it big enough for the quilt...using up the leftover fabric from the front to make it big enough to back the quilt.  I also got the borders added to the top, but don't have a picture of that.  It is now ready to go to the long-arm quilter...as soon as I can locate one!


Saturday, another bad weather day, was spent in the sewing room, too.  However, instead of quilt-sewing, I hemmed up 5 pair of pants for Andy.  


Nothing says "I love you" on Valentine's Day like 5 new pair of hemmed up pants!  ;)

Loretta


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sewing Room Change-Up: Phase 2....

Quote for the Day:
"Things of this world are in so constant a flux, that nothing remains long in the same state."
~John Locke


I posted about a week ago that the way some things were set up in my sewing room just weren't working for me the way I wanted them to.  The first change-up involved moving another table into the sewing room to provide more space for my sewing machines.

I moved my sewing room into this particular bedroom 2 years ago and at the time I set it up the way I thought would be best.  However, after working in there for a while, there were some things that were not as convenient as I would have hoped and it involved the way I had 3 bookcases set up.  

I have these two bookcases just inside the door of the room that I lean my "design wall" boards against.


I keep my "scrap-saver's system" in the plastic containers on the tall bookshelf, but when the design wall boards are in front of it with quilt blocks on them, it is difficult to get to my scrap storage.  

Just to the right of these two bookshelves is another bookshelf that has rarely needed items on it...along with other stuff that has just been thrown on there instead of being put away where it belongs.  It ends up being a "catch-all" for things that I don't know what to do with or don't have time to put away properly.


Since this third bookcase is next to my cutting table, I thought it would be more convenient to move my scrap storage system to this bookcase and put the things that I don't need to get to as often on the bookcase behind the design wall boards.  While moving this stuff around, I took this opportunity to declutter, too.

This is the result...



This puts the most-used items (my scraps) at my fingertips next to the cutting table, and the lesser-used items behind the design wall!  I think this is going to work much better for me!   And I love that it is cleaner and neater, now!  I am less stressed and more creative in a clean and functional space!

Loretta

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Clean, Healthy Eating for 30 Days...

Quote(s) For the Day:

"Whether you think you can or you can't, you are right."

~Henry Ford

“The food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy. Those are your options.” 

~Melissa HartwigIt Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways


Today is Day 31 of my Whole30 way of eating.  I started on Jan 15 and am loving the results so far.  Some people are ready at this point to slowly re-introduce the foods that they have eliminated during the Whole30 to see how they effect them.  I, however, am not ready.  I plan to continue eating on this food plan...hopefully, until it becomes just "the way I eat".  

The "Before" and "After" pictures...I'm not sure that I can tell a difference in the pictures...which is very disappointing...but here they are...




The "hard" results:

Weight:  -10 pounds
Measurements:  -11" 
  • Bust -1/4"
  • Waist -2 1/4"
  • Hips - 2"
  • Thighs - 2 1/4" total
  • Calves - 1 1/2" total
  • Upper Arms - 2" total
  • Neck - 3/4"
The "soft" results:
  • I'm off of my medication for GERD (Gastro-esophageal reflux disorder)...something I have suffered with for 30+ years and have been on medication for 20+ years.  (I have found that it does return when I eat grapefruit, though, but that is easily taken care of by a few drops of Digestzen essential oil by doTerra.)
  • Blood pressure has dropped by 10 points, both diastolic and systolic!
  • Resting heart rate is in the 60's!!  (It has been in the 80's for the last several years.)
  • No more ankle swelling.
  • No intestinal gas or bloating.
  • My insomnia is GONE.
  • I wake up feeling refreshed and energized.
  • I have more energy throughout the day and get more things accomplished.
  • I've learned to cook some very tasty and healthy recipes and have eaten some new foods for the first time ever!  
  • Food has FLAVOR without adding any sugar.
  • YES, I CAN drink my coffee with just unsweetened coconut milk added...no sweetener of any kind....and still enjoy it!  (Who knew???)
  • My sugar cravings have decreased by probably 80-90%.
  • My desire to eat out my frustrations or emotions has also decreased by 80-90%.
  • No afternoon brain-fog or sluggishness.
  • Improved/upbeat mood.
  • I've joined a fitness center and work-out a couple times a week...something I haven't been able to do since 2008!
I had my usual 6 month check-up with my cardiologist this week and he is quite pleased with the changes.  He wants to recheck my cholesterol after a few more weeks of eating this way and, if possible, he will make changes in both my cholesterol medication and my blood pressure medication.  In the meantime, I'm going to keep track of my blood pressure because if it drops any lower, it will be too low!  

What I have found to be IRONIC, is that EVERYONE agrees that the current American diet is very unhealthy.  However, in the next breath those very same people give me grief about "why did you stop eating 'fill-in-the-blank' "...the very foods that make up the contemporary American diet.  It seems that most people think you should continue to eat the contemporary American diet...just eat "less" of it.  Is "less poison" not just as bad for you as "poison"???

Loretta